Popular Final Fantasy 14 streamer prepares to flee Ukraine over threat of Russian invasion

Final Fantasy 14 streamer ZeplaHQ.
(Image credit: ZeplaHQ)

One of Final Fantasy 14's most prominent streamers has spoken about her plans to flee Ukraine in the wake of a potential invasion from Russia.

Zepla originally hails from Louisiana in the United States but has been living in Ukraine for around eight years, currently residing in Kyiv. She's been streaming all things Final Fantasy 14 for the past five years, garnering 300,000 subscribers on her main YouTube channel and 200,000 followers on Twitch. She's a wonderfully wholesome content creator, usually providing tips for newer players or gushing about her love for Viera, one of the game's playable races. But the end of January saw her tackle a more serious topic—the impending danger for those living in Kyiv, and the fact she would likely need to leave very soon.

"There may come a day soon where I may need to reach out to the community for help," she addressed her viewers during one of her regular streams. She went into details about the increasing number of Russian troops along the Ukrainian border, and the increasing tensions between the two countries.

She's been making preparations to leave, though it's not as easy as upping sticks back to America. "I have a home here," she told viewers. "I have my dog Nora and my cat Tallulah." She's currently in the process of obtaining pet passports for both, though it's a little tricky trying to get pets from Ukraine into the US. "Ukraine is considered a high-risk rabies country for dogs," she said. "This means that there's a lot of extra paperwork I need to do, and there's a very specific timeline that must be done to get a dog out of Ukraine and into the US."

Following the stream, Zepla spoke to VICE Waypoint and said how the "normalcy around everything" has been "the most unsettling thing" about preparing to leave. "At least in a hurricane, you can see the dark clouds overhead, you know something is coming. It's obvious," she said. "You can feel it in the wind, you can feel it in the air that the rain has come in. You can see the lightning on the horizon. But here, it's still beautiful, sunny days. And it's still everyone going about their business as usual."

Right now, Zepla says her plan is to pack up and head west once she has her pet passports to hand. She got her COVID booster jab last week, which she joked was "so I won't get plague while I flee the war." 

"Right now I'm trying to take all of the necessary precautions, be ready to leave at a moment's notice," she said at the end of her January stream. "That is the thing I need to do now." She said she'll still be on stream, donning her pink bunny ears for her viewers. "I plan to continue streaming as much as possible. I'll be stopping at Airbnbs and hotels and I will stream the whole way."

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.